Panamanian Golden Frog
The Cape May County Zoo supports Project Golden Frog, a conservation initiative with the primary goal of preventing the extinction of the Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki), an endangered and culturally significant Bufonidae found in the montane rainforests of Panama. The wild population is threatened most notably by the fungal epizootic Chytridiomycosis which has contributed to the loss of the Costa Rican Golden toad (Bufo perigienes) and the endangerment of other amphibians throughout Central and South America.
The zoo houses 1.1.9 A. zeteki on loan from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore who, while not genetically viable at this time, provide an educational opportunity for our visitors. In 2003, former Reptile and Amphibian Curator Jonnie Gove traveled with a team of AZA zoologists to Panama to study the wild population of A. zeteki, including the collection of wild specimens for the managed breeding program.
In 2005, our 0.0.4 yellow Marginated box turtles (C. flavomarginata) were sent to Ray Farrell of the Turtle Survival Alliance for breeding. We received 0.0.4 C. flavomarginata hatchlings at that time that are part of a growth study being conducted by Mr. Farrell. Growth measurements are sent every six months along with diet and enclosure information. In 2007 we received 0.4 additional C. flavomarginata hatchlings also included in the study.
The zoo is currently submitting paperwork to become an institutional member of the Turtle Survival Alliance to allow us to play a more active role in their conservation conducted by Mr. Farrell. Growth measurements are sent every six months along with diet and enclosure information. In 2007 we received 0.4 additional C. flavomarginata hatchlings also included in the study. The zoo is currently submitting paperwork to become an institutional member of the Turtle Survival Alliance to allow us to play a more active role in their conservation projects. We have in the past given homes to confiscated Southeast Asian turtles (P. megacepalum, C. flavomarginata, P. mouhotii).
Eastern Tiger Salamander
(Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum): Headstart Program
In 1974, state officials had added the once abundant amphibian to the endangered species list, there were 19 small breeding areas in isolated areas of Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties. By 2009 researchers found just 12 eastern tiger salamander breeding areas in all on New Jersey--in Cape May County.
The major threat to species survival in New Jersey is habitat loss and destruction. While environmental groups have battled for habitat preservation, biologists with the state’s Endangered and Non-game Species Program have struggled to find ways to help the tiger salamander keep its hold in New Jersey.
Dave Golden, New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program, approached the Cape May County Zoo in 2010 about starting a headstart program to help these endangered amphibians.
“This program would involve Cape May County Zoo, the states Division of Fish and Wildlife, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and Montclair State University. Egg masses laid by wild tiger salamanders would be collected and hatched in a controlled environment at the Cape May County Zoo. Once hatched, tissue samples would be harvested and sent to Montclair State University for DNA analysis. The young would then be released back into the wild at ponds created on state-owned land. This headstart would greatly increase the possibility of larvae salamanders surviving in the wild to breeding age, therefore boosting their numbers. DNA analysis would help in determining which wild groups are doing well and which groups need assistance.” said senior reptile zookeeper, Kevin Wilson.